September 1, 2015
That’s why the El Paso Republican Party says it will violate an order from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to stop handing out copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence outside naturalization ceremonies at the city-owned Civic Center.
“It’s the individual that manages the Civic Center that had originally notified us that we would not be allowed,” El Paso GOP chairman Adolpho Telles tells Watchdog.org. “We distribute them at the end of the ceremony, which is what we’d historically done.”
According to Telles, the facility manager was acting on an order from the feds.
Telles says he received an email from Margaret A. Hartnett, the USCIS El Paso field office director, which read in part that she was “happy to hear that you will abide by our policy” that “requires all non-USCIS participants to not engage in political, commercial, or religious activity of any kind, before, during, or after the ceremony.”
Hartnett didn’t say which of those provisions the Constitution and Declaration of Independence apparently violate.
The GOP chairman points out he and the other party activists handing out America’s founding documents have never been “participants” in the traditional sense of the word.
Telles attended a city council meeting to voice his objections.
“We have done that in the past (handed out constitutions), and we are notifying the city of this issue that concerns us because I think that violates our free speech,” he tells KVIA.
Lisa Sprinkle also attended the meeting and said, “I am a naturalized citizen. I remember that day when I was 9 years old as if it was today.” She say she enjoys handing out the documents and wants to see the tradition continue.
“Please talk to the management of the Civic Center and allow us to continue this wonderful experience,” she said.